February 12, 2009

... And I Can Eat Chocolate!

Nah. You read it correctly (if you've read my previous journal). I am so happy today that I have found the right kind of chocolate I can eat, that my body agrees with little consumption of it. They are 70% dark chocolate from Green and Black's and another one is from Scarborough Fair Trade Sinless 70% dark chocolate. YES!! I finally can enjoy dark chocolate again, and they are organic. A square a day, that will be plenty for me.

Our South-Auckland based home garden and orchard was looking fresh with reasonable showers from morning till evening yesterday. I managed to stroll along the garden with my raincoat under the soft rain which came in between the heavy ones. Some of my roses started to wilt and furiously fell their foliage off half-way up their mother stalks, while it is barely Autumn just yet.

My Cosmos were still standing proud and pregnant with future seeds; my lilies have all finished their work and ready to fade themselves out to store nutrition for their own bulbs; my sunflowers are nodding their heads with heavy seeds, interweaving with the coming of eager bumble bees interchangeably with little birds which bodies are as small as my thumb; and there are new buds of Amaryllis Belladonna emerging above the ground, readily to open for pleasure, welcoming the next season. The grass is still brown with lacking of chlorophyll to keep them green, but they'll manage themselves to new growth under the Autumn rain eventually, I suppose.

pearls


So the drops of water from the sky often delights us when there is the need of it rises as high expectation as the sky itself, for the sake of recovering the earth be green, as it is supposed to be. This year's Summer is surprisingly hot and dry. Last weekend we received 40C, and yesterday was up to 44C under the sun, only cooled down to 28C in the evening. Surely the global-warming heatwave epidemic came knocking on our door as well as mates' door across the ditch. Perhaps, ours is milder than theirs, and I am not complaining. I simply enjoy Summer with mundane tasks, more books to read, small pool to just soak in and let my kids enjoy the freshness of the creek's water, and the lick of ice cream.

Last week, Ellen and David came by to see us, first time to see them again in a year after their missionary duty in the Philippines and India has ended. My kids and Ellen's get along together well and run around the orchard as freely as their legs can take them to please their desire in cheering each other up and be joyed with childhood games. The amusement was not to end when I said that they could help me picking plums for jam and fruit cheese. You can expect the tiny shrieks of excitement for this task. The deep blue colour of Damson plums delight them as well.


Plums Picking

That was what we did. We just managed one basket of these midget-size plums to pick because I know with that volume I will be spending a good half-day long to do the lot of them. I just want to make plum cheese at the moment, a good time to produce, before I start to be occupied with bottling the Golden Queen and peacherines (the cross between Peach and Nectarine) later in the season. From one of two trees, we could just make a basketful without really stripping all the fruits off, therefore, I can tell, this is a high possibility to have some more plum jams for my beloved than I had made last year. And I am sure, this will be done before middle of Autumn has gone.

damson plum cheese home-made by ab '09

You may view the recipe for the plum cheese here (see also Gilli's blog to find out a little bit more about the taste of this cheese).

plum butter, cheese, and fresh damson plums ab '09

On the photo above, the top round plum product is fruit butter. Fruit butter is one out of ways to preserve plums, and the making process is to be halted a little earlier than fruit cheese. The finish product, as far as I experience, is much wetter and springy to touch rather than firmer produce fruit cheese is made.

I am using fruit butter to add flavour...well, to give flavour to common ice cream I previously have made. I only use milk to be the only creamy accent of the ice cream and do not use additional sugar to sweeten it. I used about 2 cups of fruit butter, mixed half to flavour and another half to give burst sensation in each scoop. It is just so fruity yet so creamy, I can tell you!


plum fruit butter ice cream-2 by ab '09


So, here's what I did:

I gently heat about 1 litre of milk, leave it cool and then mix it with 1 cup fruit butter. Mix well and freeze. I don't have ice cream maker, so I just do manually. Taking out the mixture when it's about 2cm frozen from the edges of the tin to be done several times, repeatedly, that is. Then the last time before it is going to be frozen for serving, fold in 1 more cup of fruit butter, mix just to combine, to give the effect of fruit butter melt in your mouth. The effect of pink and dark pink of ice cream and fruit butter is quite good. Without cream and eggs (two of ingredients I can't eat), this cream is very fruity and pleasing the palate with clean, sweet and sharp tartness of the plums. Makes about 1 litre.

Now, if you happen to have Damsons on your orchard or see Damsons at your farmers' market, pick or grab them and remember to make fruit butter, then you can enjoy this fruit butter ice cream! If I can eat it, and so can you!!













16 comments:

Vij said...

Gorgeous clicks Arfi!

MeetaK said...

this looks brilliant arfi! choc is the best!

Passionate About Baking said...

I'm glad you found a choc you can eat Arfi. Seriously, Green & Blacks Organic is quite the best, dark & bittersweet. A friend used to get me some from the UK everytime she flew down, & it was the most satisfying one for me...a square a day is great! You live in paradise...I am saying it again, coz it's BEE YOO TI FUL! And your pictures are STUNNING! xoxoxo

Kitchen Flavours said...

Dark chocolate is always good for heeart says the medical reasearch...... Having a indulgence daily is awesome....Cake looks welcoming...

Michelle said...

I'm so envious of you living in New Zealand. Right now it's ice cold and miserable in the UK and looking at your photos I can almost feel the heat exuding from the screen. I miss the warmth of South Africa. :-(

Happy cook said...

When i saw the pic i thought they were berries, but then you have written they are small plums.
I am so happy for you that you have found you can have 70% chocolate.
I totally agree withMichelle, i am so jealoue ( i am saying it again) tha youlive in such a wonderful place.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

The icecream looks beautiful, it's great that you can do it without eggs and cream. It's great you can eat chocolate too!

Ana said...

this looks brilliant arfi! choc is the best! It's great you can eat chocolate too!

Rosie said...

Hi Arfi, I am pleased to hear you can eat choccie once again. I use G&B 70% coco solids in my baking and it really is a lovely chocolate. Your pics are stunning and those plums are just gorgeous!

Rosie x

Cynthia said...

The drops of water photograph is mesmerizing. I can stare at it all the time.

Cakelaw said...

Yum - plum icecream and plum cheese! I have never heard of plum cheese before, but it reminds me of quince jelly - mmmmm.

Peter G said...

Stunning Arfi! I'm glad you found some chocolate you can really enjoy...and all that beautiful fruit harvest looks delightful!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Arfi, I have left an award for you here:

http://kitchenlaw.blogspot.com/2009/02/no-valentine-just-meatballs-in-romania.html

Ivy said...

Your clicks are amazing Arfi. The plum ice cream sounds delicious as well as the jam.

Jescel said...

that raindrops pic is awesome, Arfi. you truly are talented. and you are blessed with nature's bounty. i so wish i live in new zealand - and that i was your neighbor so i can invite myself to your house to partake of your creations all the time.. hehehehe...

sunita said...

Arfi, those are such gorgeous pictures! Glad you found a chocolate you can enjoy and Green&Blacks are really nice :-)